University of Ottawa
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About the University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa (uOttawa or U of O) (French: Université d'Ottawa) is a bilingual public research university in Ottawa,Ontario, Canada. The main campus is located on 42.5 hectares (105 acres) in the residential neighbourhood of Sandy Hill, adjacent to Ottawa's Rideau Canal. The university offers a wide variety of academic programs, administered by ten faculties. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

The University of Ottawa was first established as the College of Bytown in 1848 by the first bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, Joseph-Bruno Guigues. Placed under the direction of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, it was renamed the College of Ottawa in 1861 and received university status five years later through royal charter. On 5 February 1889, the university was granted a pontifical charter by Pope Leo XIII, elevating the institution to a pontifical university. The University was reorganized on 1 July 1965 as a corporation, independent from any outside body or religious organization. As a result, the civil and pontifical charters were kept by the newly created Saint Paul University, federated with the university. The remaining civil faculties were retained by the reorganized university.

The university has more than 40,000 students, 5,000 employees and 180,000 alumni. The university's athletic teams are known as the Gee-Gees and are members of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

  • Faculty of Arts

    The Faculty of Arts comprises eighteen departments, schools and institutes, which offer a hundred of English-language and French-language undergraduate programs in over 40 subjects as well as over 30 graduate programs including diploma, master's and PhD programs

  • Faculty of Law — Civil Law Section

    The Civil Law Section’s faculty is composed of a wide range of experts, many of whom are renowned as leaders in their respective fields. Through their scholarship, many of our professors have contributed to the transformation of Canada’s legal systems as well as the ways in which law is practiced, taught and conceived.

  • Faculty of Law - Common Law Section

    Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, within walking distance of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada, the University of Ottawa provides the best opportunity in the world to study Canada’s legal systems in English or in French.  With an emphasis on critical thinking skills, the Common Law Section’s solid curriculum can prepare students for any legal career in Canada or abroad.

    The Common Law Section’s faculty is composed of a wide range of experts, many of whom are renowned as leaders in their respective fields.  Through their scholarship, many of our professors have contributed to the transformation of Canada’s legal systems as well as the ways in which law is practiced, taught and conceived.  

    As a global and national leader in a variety of fields, Common Law offers specializations in Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, International Trade, Business and Human Rights Law, Social Justice and Technology Law, Public Law and Aboriginal Law.  The Centre for Law, Technology and Society has helped to solidify the law school’s position as the leading Law and Technology Faculty in the country.  uOttawa also provides one of the richest sets of course offerings in the world in International Law.  We are also home to the internationally renowned Human Rights Research and Education Centre.  Furthermore, we are the national leader in Environmental Law and home to the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

    The Common Law Section is also pleased to offer some of the most exciting programs of study available anywhere, with many opportunities for students to volunteer their time and expertise to help enrich the community while acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to uphold the rule of law and the values of the Charter.

  • Faculty of Education

    The Faculty of Education is pleased to announce that Professor Raymond Leblanc has been named Acting Dean for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2015. Professor Leblanc has been a member of the Faculty for over 30 years and has taught courses in a variety of topics, including in teacher training at the undergraduate level, namely in special education and values education, and at the graduate level, in cultural psychology and qualitative methods.

  • Faculty of Engineering

    The Faculty of Engineering provides its graduates with top quality education in engineering and computer science, preparing them to practice their professions competently to meet the ever-changing needs of society, and to continue learning their discipline, allowing them to move into other related fields including business, law and medicine.  Excellence and diversity in research are essential to our mission and build on our strong collaboration with industry and government research laboratories. The Faculty encourages a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst its students and personnel. The Faculty strives to provide a learning environment that promotes excellence and innovation, ethical practice and responsibility towards society. The Faculty is committed to a culture built on respect of the individual and fair treatment for all.

  • Faculty of Graduate Studies

    The University of Ottawa, North America's oldest and largest bilingual university, traces its origins to the College of Bytown, founded in 1848 by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The College was incorporated as a university by Royal Charter in 1866. In 1965, a major reorganization rendered it provincially assisted.

    Courses leading to advanced degrees have been offered at the University of Ottawa since 1933. The rapid development in research and postgraduate programs at the Master's and doctorate levels during the 1960's required a degree of coordination that was attainable only by the creation of a central body to plan, develop and administer these activities.

    To fulfill these needs, the School of Graduate Studies was established in 1967. Following this decision, responsibility for the operation of graduate programs was transferred from the individual faculties. From that point on, the School has been engaged in developing the regulations and procedures pertaining to all graduate programs and ensuring that they are of the highest quality. Most programs were initially offered in one of the two official languages, and were subsequently offered in both. The School is housed in a building named after its first Dean, Dr. Paul Hagen (1969-1983).

    A new aspect was added to its mandate in 1999 when responsibility for postdoctoral fellowships was assigned to the School. This led to its current name, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

    The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is administered by a council which oversees two commissions: Sciences and Humanities. The Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences and the Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities assume responsibility for the academic curriculum in the various programs.

    Since 1981, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University have initiated joint graduate programs in areas where the interests and expertise of both universities are complementary. This is notably the case in science and engineering.

    Over the years, the FGPS has created a number of scholarships to attract the best students and, in conjunction with the faculties, has developed strategies for providing financial support.

  • Faculty of Health Sciences

    The Faculty of Health Sciences is dedicated to promoting excellence in teaching, research, and community services within a bilingual and bicultural environment to develop professionals who provide leadership in evidence-based practice that ensures and promotes the health and well being of individuals, families, and communities.

    The Faculty of Health Sciences is committed to becoming a nationally and internationally recognized leader in innovative approaches to active living, health promotion, and quality health services.

  • Faculty of Medicine

    With a focus on excellence, the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine was built on the twin missions of education and research. The Faculty is now a nationally recognized leader, ranked among Canada’s top-tier medical faculties. The Faculty is fourth overall in Canada and 68th worldwide, as well as 3rd in Canada for citations/papers and 54th worldwide for research impact according to the QS World University Rankings of more than 800 universities. The 2013 CWTS Leiden Rankings lists the Faculty as 5th in Canada for impact and recognizes us for a high probability of pushing excellent papers. 

    The Faculty and its affiliated research institute partners have also contributed significantly to the following uOttawa milestones: second in Canada by Maclean’s magazine for research intensity; second highest growth rate in Tri-Council Funding (all programs) since 2003; and third highest growth rate in Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funding for universities with medical schools since 2003. 

    The only bilingual medical school in Canada, we are committed to excellence in education and health research, and are attuned to the needs of the communities we serve from local to global.

  • Faculty of Science

    Although the University of Ottawa celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1998, the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science was only established in 1953. In subsequent years, the name was changed from Faculty of Science and Engineering to the Faculty of Science in 1986.

    Today the Faculty consists of more than 164 professors and 99 full-time support staff, and offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 4500 students in five departments: Biology, Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics. It also oversees the undergraduate program in Biochemistry. Most programs offer the Co-op option.

    The Science campus consists of several buildings housing state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories. The world-class biosciences complex is just one example of the state-of-the art facilities that offer our students additional opportunities to become the leaders of tomorrow. Add to this the new Earth Sciences Microscopy Laboratory, the 180 students chemistry lab and the physics labs, and you have the make up of a very special science campus.

    Over the years, the Faculty of Science has become a true centre of excellence, earning recognition across Canada and abroad for its prowess in the classrooms and the laboratories. Researchers within the Faculty are pursuing some of the most significant and relevant scientific matters of our day including molecular biology, genetics, biopharmaceutical sciences, environmental genomics, catalysis, nanotechnology, applied modern mathematics and statistics.

  • Faculty of Social Sciences

    In 2015, the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) celebrated its 60th anniversary. The FSS comprises nine departments, schools and institutes, which offer undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs in both English and French. With its 10,000 students, 260 full-time professors, and wide array of programs and research centres, the Faculty of Social Sciences plays a key role at the heart of the University of Ottawa. Its graduate students are supervised by excellent researchers and undertake cutting-edge research in the Faculty's masters and Ph.D. programs.

  • Telfer School of Management

    Located in the heart of Ottawa, our school is the proud academic home of some 4,300 students, 88 full-time faculty members, and over 25,000 alumni. Our accreditations from the three most demanding international organizations (AACSB, AMBA & EQUIS) underline our recognition as one of the world’s top business schools.

    Our programs are designed to shape influential leaders, responsible managers and innovative researchers who have a positive impact on the lives of people, organizations and communities. Whatever your goals, we are always close by to help you reach them.

    Our professors are internationally recognized for their cutting-edge research, their out of the box thinking, and their leadership of key research networks. They take on the most important issues faced by today’s business leaders, anticipating and devising solutions to tomorrow’s challenges, in all fields of management, including our three strategic areas: business analytics and performance, health systems management, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Faculty of Law

History of the University of Ottawa

The university was established on 26 September 1848 as the College of Bytown by the first Roman Catholic bishop of Ottawa, Joseph-Bruno Guigues. He entrusted administration to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The college was originally located in Lower Town, housed in a wooden building next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. However, space quickly became an issue for administrators, triggering two moves in 1852 and a final move to Sandy Hill in 1856. The Sandy Hill property was donated byLouis-Theodore Besserer, where he offered a substantial parcel from his estate for the college. The college was renamed College of Ottawa in 1861, following the city's name change from Bytown to Ottawa. In 1866, the college received its first charter, as well as university status, making it the final institution in Canada to receive a Royal Charter from London before the British North America Act, 1867 made education a provincial responsibility. By 1872 the university had already begun to confer undergraduate degrees, with master's degrees coming in 1875 and doctoral degrees in 1888. On 5 February 1889, the university was granted a pontifical charter from Pope Leo XIII, elevating the university to a pontifical university.

The university faced a crisis when fire destroyed the main building on 2 December 1903. After the fire, the university hired New York architect A. O. Von Herbulis to design its replacement, Tabaret Hall. It was among the first Canadian structures to be completely fireproof, built of reinforced concrete. Women first enrolled in 1919.

In the fall of 1939, a Canadian Officer Training Corp was established at the university, with training beginning on in January 1940. The Canadian Officers' Training Corps, University of Ottawa Contingent, which comprised a company, headquarters and three platoons in 1939, was authorized to become a battalion in 1940. By 1941, the unit swelled to 550 men. An air force Officers' Training Corp was created in 1942 and a naval Officers' training corp in 1943. Participation in one of the three corps became mandatory for all students over 18, although they were not obliged to participate in the actual war at the end of their studies. During this time, the Royal Canadian Air Force used parts of the university's grounds for training and the university constructed barracks to house members of the Canadian Women's Army Corps. In total 1,158 students and alumni of the university enrolled the Canadian Forces during the Second World War, of which 50 died overseas.The unit was eventually disbanded during the unification of the Armed Forces in 1968.

The Ottawa architecture firm of Burgess, McLean & MacPhadyen designed the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology (later to merge with the Ontario Vocational Centre and renamed Algonquin College), opened its new Rideau Campus on a 12-acre city owned Lees Avenue site in 1964. After being unused for a number of years, the midcentury academic complex was sold to the University of Ottawa in January 2007.

The university was reorganized on 1 July 1965 as a corporation independent from any outside body or religious organization, becoming publicly funded. As a result, the civil and pontifical charters were transferred to the newly created Saint Paul University, federated with the corporation, while the remaining civil faculties were retained by the reorganized university.

In 1974, a new policy mandated by the Government of Ontario strengthened institutional bilingualism at the university, with specific instructions to further bilingualism and biculturalism and preserve and develop French culture.

In 1989, Dr. Wilbert Keon of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute performed the country's first neonatal artificial heart transplant on an 11-day-old baby.

On 11 November 1998, during the University of Ottawa's 150th anniversary celebrations, two war memorial plaques were unveiled in the foyer of Tabaret Hall which honour 1000 graduates of the university community who took part in armed conflict, especially the list of 50 graduates who lost their lives.

The engineering building, Col By Hall, was unveiled in September 2005 as a memorial dedicated to Lieutenant-Colonel John By, Royal Engineers

Canada requirements for international students

Canada is now the most educated country in the world, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Most of all, there are a lot of programs for international students. 

The universities of Canada don't use a centralized system of undergraduate application so the students have to apply separately for each institution they want to attend. However, the most general procedures and requirements to get admission in Canada are: an application form, an official high school transcript or university transcript, CV which present your educational achievements, work or volonteer experience, and a letter of intent (LOI) that demonstrate personal and professional goals of the student and explains the interest of the applicant. 

IELTS is most widely recognized and accepted English proficiency test in Canada. However, some universities accept TOEFL as an English test requirement. So you'll need to contact the university for the information about the test you have to provide and the score that you must obtain. 


  • Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ontario


  • The university was ranked 218th in the QS rankings
  • The university still ranks among the best in Canada and has been ranked among the top 200 universities worldwide for the past four years in another prestigious British ranking
  • Among Canada’s top 10 research universities

Student life at the University of Ottawa

The two main student unions on administrative and policy issues are the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) for all undergraduate students and the Graduate Students' Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s (GSAÉD) for graduate students. Additionally, graduate (and undergraduate) students who are employed as research assistants, teaching assistants, markers, proctors, and lifeguards are members of CUPE2626, a local chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The union and the university are bound by a collective agreement. In addition, most faculties have student representative bodies. Resident students are represented by the Residents’ Association of the University of Ottawa.

More than 175 student organizations and clubs are officially accredited by the student union, covering interests such as academics, culture, religion, social issues and recreation. Many of them center on the student activity centre. Two non-profit, independent student newspapers publish at the University. The Fulcrumpublishes in English and is a member of the Canadian University Press, while La Rotonde publishes in French. Campus radio station CHUO-FM (89.1 FM), Canada’s second-oldest, began broadcasting in 1984. The SFUO recognizes three fraternities; Sigma Chi, Sigma Alpha Mu and Omega Theta Alpha; and eight sororities, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Phi, Nu Sigma Pi, Omega Phi Sigma, Sigma Beta Phi, Xi Delta Theta, Zeta Theta Xi and Theta Sigma Psi.

Why us?

  • Largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world
  • World’s first French immersion undergraduate program
  • Among Canada’s top 10 research universities
  • Located in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, within walking distance of Parliament Hill
  • Our co-operative education program is amongst the top five in the country
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